So you have a house to clear? Where do you start?

There are times in life when you may be faced with a house to clear. Unfortunately this is often either because a relative has died or has to move into long term care. 

So it’s probably already a stressful and difficult time. But, being practical, the house is no longer needed, and is likely either to be sold or handed over to a new tenant, depending on the situation. Which means that someone needs to completely clear it out.

If this task falls to you, where on earth do you start?

Here is our Five Point Plan about how to clear a house.


Decide what you want to keep

If you are clearing the home of a relative, there may well be things that you want to keep. Some may be practical items, perhaps items of furniture or recently purchased kitchen equipment. But there will also be items of sentimental value such as photographs, pictures, letters, jewellery, accessories and ornaments.

It’s a good idea to have in mind before you start the kinds of things you want to keep, and how much stuff you want to end up with. That will help you to be ruthless as you are clearing, and not end up keeping everything.

Whilst you don’t want to end up with piles of paperwork, it is advisable to keep any documents that may be needed later on. At the very least, make sure that any documents containing personal information are disposed of securely (for example shredded or burned) to eliminate any risk of identity theft.


Set aside items to sell or give away

If there are items in the home that you don’t want, but may be of use to others, set aside a space to store these items for now. It’s a good idea to completely empty one room first, perhaps the smallest bedroom or the dining room, then you can use that room to store these items. 

Once the house clearance is finished, you can then start to redistribute these items. It will take time to get through this but you may also be able to make a little money in the process.

Some options to consider are:

  • Selling locally: for example local social media sites or adverts in local newspapers, community notice boards and shop windows.
  • Selling online: we have already mentioned local social media sites (such as Facebook Marketplace), but also try more general auction and sales sites such as eBay and Gumtree.
  • Specialist sites: there are online sites such as Music Magpie and We Buy Books that can take items in bulk, such as books, CDs, DVDs, computer games and Lego.
  • Stores and dealers: Look online and also in your local High Street for stores and dealers prepared to buy items such as old mobile phones and other digital devices, gadgets, cameras, sound equipment and musical instruments. 
  • A car boot sale: A great way to get rid of all kinds of goods, in return for cash in hand.
  • Charity shops: They will accept most kinds of items in good condition, and you will be helping to support a good cause.


Recycle eligible items

The next stage is to see if there is anything remaining in the home that can be recycled. Many Council waste disposal centres also serve as recycling centres. They have areas where you can take large items of furniture and also textiles such as carpets and mattresses. Many will also take large electrical items such as fridges, freezers, TVs and other household appliances and gadgets.

If you are not able to transport these items yourself, you could ask the Council to pick them up for you. There will be a charge for this, so it is also worth checking availability and prices of either a local waste recycling company or a “man and van” service that would be prepared to do the job for you.


Dispose of everything else

Once you have done all the above, you can then throw everything else away. You will have done your best to dispose of everything ethically, and by this point there should hopefully be nothing else to salvage.

Some options for your final throwing away are:

  • Council waste disposal centre, as mentioned above.
  • Council collection: either pay for this or – if there is time – put items out with each bin collection until they have all gone.
  • Local waste collection company.
  • Hire a skip for a couple of weeks and put everything in there.


Say your goodbyes

This can be the hardest part, especially if the house has sentimental value for you. 

Once the house is cleared, you are likely to need either to clean it yourself or arrange for this to be done professionally. Yes, this is another job to do, but if the house is being sold it will attract more interest if it looks clean and fresh. And if the house has been rented, you risk losing some of the deposit (if applicable) if there is cleaning still to be done when the keys are handed back.

Once cleaning is complete, your job is done. You can walk away from the house knowing that you have done your very best. Raise a toast to your loved one. And hope that the next occupant(s) will appreciate the home just as much as you have.


We hope that the above tips help you to tackle the difficult job of clearing a house.

If you need any additional finances to sort everything out, bear in mind that Loans 2 Go offers online personal loans of up to £3,000 that may be able to help. 

Good luck with everything. And remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.